Kenneth Branagh to Direct, Star in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Remake

Kenneth Branagh will star as Hercule Poirot and direct Fox’s reboot of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Producers are Ridley Scott, Simon Kinberg, Mark Gordon and Branagh. Michael Schaefer and Aditya Sood will also produce in some capacity.

Michael Green (“Blade Runner 2”) is writing the screenplay, with Steve Asbell overseeing the production for Fox.

Christie’s novel, published in 1934, revolves around a murder onboard the famous train and Belgian detective Poirot solving the case – in which a number of passengers could potentially be the murderer.

Variety reported in 2013 that Fox was developing the project for a remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1974 movie, which starred Albert Finney as the genius detective investigating the murder of an American tycoon aboard the train. The all-star cast of suspects included Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Colin Blakely, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Michael York.

“Orient Express” was a commercial success with $35 million in U.S. grosses. It was also nominated for six Academy Awards, with Bergman — portraying a Swedish missionary — winning her third Oscar, her first in the supporting category.

Christie’s novel was adapted again for a 2001 TV version that aired on CBS and starred Alfred Molina and Leslie Caron.

Branagh’s directing credits include “Henry V,” “Thor” and “Cinderella.”

James Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd. and Christie’s great grandson, said, “The extraordinary thing about my great grandmother’s stories is just how timeless they are and how perfectly they lend themselves to the cinematic experience. Eighty years after the publication of the novel, Fox and its creative team will bring ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ a classic Christie tale, to new audiences across the world. We are genuinely excited about this partnership and with 33 Poirot stories to be told, we look forward to this being the first of many collaborations.”

Hilary Strong, CEO at the Christie production and rights management business Agatha Christie Ltd., said, “We have been working with the fantastic team at Fox for some time now and could not be happier with the creative talent that they have brought together for this wonderful project.”

James Prichard and Hilary Strong will executive produce. Strong brokered the deal for Agatha Christie Ltd.

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